March 28–U.S. Rep. Rick Allen rang up a few customers, talked shop with Sprint Food Stores owner Andy Jones and spoke about constituent concerns during a Tuesday appearance at the new Sprint store on Gordon Highway at Barton Chapel Road.
Allen faces opposition in the May 22 Republican primary from Evans businessman Eugene Yu, and several contenders including attorney Francys Johnson and businessman Trent Nesmith, both of Statesboro, Ga., are vying for the Democratic nomination to oppose him in November.
Allen’s first summer job was at a gas station on Washington Road in Evans, and as a representative from the small business sector, he said his greatest joy came from creating jobs.
“The reason I ran for U.S. Congress is I want every American to have the opportunity to have a good job,” said the Augusta native, citing the number of jobs created under the Trump administration as 300,000 last month and 2.4 million since the president took office.
Several reporters quizzed Allen about gun violence in schools. Student protesters recently staged a lie-in outside Allen’s Augusta office to protest the issue, thought none appeared Tuesday.
“I don’t blame those students. Can you imagine having something like that happen in school? It’s a tragedy and we’ve got to get this right,” Allen said.
Allen said while “the NRA has been a staple for the Second Amendment,” schools need to be safe.
“There are people that should not own guns in this country,” he said.
Asked how to protect schools from gun violence, Allen said all “soft targets” must be protected.
“Back in the day, if you didn’t bring your gun to church, you were fined,” he said. “Because the Indians would always attack the church, because it was a soft target.”
“The bottom line is there are people you just cannot let walk into a school like that,” Allen said.
Allen also brought a new concept — a “power generation project” — into the discussion of how to address the crumbling New Savannah Lock and Dam, which the federal government deauthorized in 2016. Allen said he’d discussed the power project earlier Tuesday at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet High School, but would not elaborate on it.